It’s EASY to Arrange Furniture in a Square Living Room, some Ideas that will Inspire You

Arranging furniture in a 16x16 foot square Living Room

Arranging furniture in a 16×16 foot square Living Room

The topic of arranging furniture has been a subject a lot of my readers have been interested in. Recently someone inquired about arranging furniture in a square living room. Their inquiry brought about this post, I hope you find it inspiring.

When I first started thinking about a square living room, I had to come up with a room size. I thought a 16×16 foot room did not seem too out of the ordinary, and a person with a 16×18 foot living room, or longer could take my ideas and modify them to fit their space.

To see what a 16×16 foot space looked like, I took four pieces of computer printer paper and taped them together to form a 16×16 inch square (one square inch equals one square foot). After that I marked off one inch intervals, horizontally and vertically along the outside edges of the paper and with a pencil and ruler ran lines from one side of the paper to the other to form a grid of one inch squares (see the background of the cover illustration for this post).

Next I looked at a number of furniture catalogs and saw that the majority of sofas are 84 inches long (7 feet), give or take a few inches, and 36 inches wide (3 feet), give or take a few inches. Knowing those measurements I cut out two 3 inches x 7 inches pieces of paper to represent two 3 foot by 7 foot sofas (one inch = one foot). After that I made six paper templates 3 inches x 3 inches to represent upholstered chairs. Most upholstered chairs that are not on steroids are 36×36 inches square, give or take a few inches here or there. Finally I looked at the measurements of small-sized upholstered benches, they were 24 inches square, give or take a few inches, so I made 2 inch by 2 inch templates to represent them.

After measuring, cutting out and making my furniture representing shapes, I started laying them out on the 16×16 inch grid. I thought about making groupings for conversation, how each piece of furniture in the room would be spaced, and traffic patterns going into the room.

When laying out the furniture shapes I thought about some of my past posts. Arranging Living Room Furniture so Sofas talk to Chairs, Like the Pros do was the first thing that came to mind. Arranging Furniture around a Fireplace in the Corner of a Room, came to mind second, and Arranging Furniture TWELVE different ways in the Same Room was third. Putting all those posts into action I came up with the next 11 possible ways to arrange furniture in a square room. img326 Illustration 1 shows how the main three cushion sofa in this room is flanked by another three cushion sofa, and that sofa is counterbalanced by a pair of occasional or upholstered chairs placed opposite it. Notice how a square and a round shaped end table are placed alongside the main sofa, and a floor lamp is placed alongside the sofa on the left. In the right corner of the room is a potted tree, but a floor lamp could also be placed there for extra lighting if necessary.

In this illustration and all the others for this post I placed arrows which show how a person can enter the room, and how a traffic pattern might be formed.

Illustration 2 shows how the main sofa is flanked on each side by two pairs of chairs. In this room I put a potted tree behind one of the french doors on the right side of the room. A floor lamp could be placed in the left corner of the room if extra lighting is necessary. The lighting fixture would counterbalance the potted tree opposite it. If there still was not enough lighting in the room, an extra floor lamp could take the place of the potted tree.

Illustration 3 shows the main sofa being flanked by two chairs. This room has two entry ways so two chairs are grouped together on one side of the room, and one chair is placed opposite it. Floor lamps were placed behind the chairs for extra illumination. If and when needed, the three chairs could also be moved up closer to the main seating group to form a larger conversation area.

Illustration 4 is similar to illustration one, but room illustration 4 has two entry ways into it. img327 Illustration 5 shows a room with two entries into it and there is a fireplace. A sofa with end tables along side of it is flanked by two chairs to form the main conversation area. On the other side of the room two chairs with floor lamps behind them have been placed. If needed the two chairs could be moved up closer to the conversation area for group gatherings.

Illustration 6 is similar to grouping / illustration 5, but two upholstered benches have been added to the room. The upholstered benches, being backless and light weight, can easily be moved around the room as needed to provide seating when forming conversation gropings.

Illustration 7 shows two sofas flanking the fireplace with a bench and a chair flanking each sofa. For visual interest, and to mix things up, the two benches and two chairs were placed opposite each other in this room. As with all the illustrations shown so far, notice how there are end tables with lamps placed on them, and floor lamps placed in corners of the rooms so the rooms are properly illuminated.

Illustration 8 has the sofa and conversation area on one side of the room and it is counterbalanced by the TV entertainment center opposite it. Two dining room side chairs and a tea-table are placed in front of the fireplace. The two chairs by the fireplace, and the upholstered bench in the right corner of the room could be repositioned around the sofa to form a larger conversation area as needed. img328

Illustration 9 shows how a square room with two entry ways can have its furniture set up on a diagonal. The three cushion sofa has a drop leaf table set behind it, and an accent lamp or candlestick lamp or two is placed on it (click on lamps to read posts I’ve written covering them). To counterbalance the sofa, two upholstered chairs with a floor lamp behind them are placed on the other side of the room. Floor lamps in this room took the place of end tables with lamps, as space is limited.

Illustration 10 has two three cushion sofas forming a “V” shape on the far end of the room. A sofa table with lamp is behind one of them, and a Chinese screen is placed behind the other to cut off the room’s corner and fill in the space. Two chairs grouped together on one side of the room counterbalance one sofa, and the single chair with floor lamp counterbalances the other.

Illustration 11 shows how an “L” shaped sectional can possibly be used in this room. Two chairs are floating out in the center of the room to counterbalance the sectional.

Now that I’ve gone over eleven possible ways of arranging furniture in a square room, the number one thing that I want you to take away from this article is that furniture arranging is really the same if your room is square or rectangular, or small, medium or large-sized. If you measure your room’s length and width for feet, then turn those feet into inches and make a graph of squares as I did for this post, you can then make paper templates showing all the furniture you have, or are thinking about buying, and start arranging them on your graph until up come up with an arrangement / grouping that you think will work for you. If your room is anything at all like what I’ve shown here, you will have multiple options to consider. Happy Arranging and Rearranging ;-}

Companion Posts
When buying Living Room furniture, FORGET the LOVESEAT, buy two Wing, Club or Occasional Chairs instead 10-13-2012,
The Answer to “Can you put a Floor Lamp next to a Sofa?” 10-4-2012,
Interior Decorating is ALL about Equal Balance 2-27-2011,
The Right height of Table Lamp for your End Table 5-19-2011,
Arranging Furniture in a 12 foot wide by 24 foot long Living Room 2-5-2014,
Arranging Furniture in a 15 foot wide by 25 foot long Bedroom 1-24-2016,
Interior Decorating is ALL about Equal Balance 2-27-2011,
Pick (Use) Four colors when Decorating a Room 3-7-2011


About fredgonsowskigardenhome

Your eyes deserve to view beauty. I hope Fred Gonsowski Garden Home helps to turn your vision, into a reality.
This entry was posted in Arranging Living Room Furniture, Interior Decorating Principles. Bookmark the permalink.

40 Responses to It’s EASY to Arrange Furniture in a Square Living Room, some Ideas that will Inspire You

  1. teresa says:

    Yet another brilliant post with so much to digest! I’ll have to study these to see what can be applied to my LR. It’s large with two double sets of exterior arched Fr doors, a fireplace, another set of double Fr doors to another room and a large opening (formerly with quadruple fr doors that i want to put back) leading into another room and it’s all entered through a large opening that also used to have (you guessed it!) multiple Fr doors. so there’s basically 5 openings in the room. Lots of options, but I struggle to get it right without blocking off traffic patterns. I’m thinking you’ve given me some food for thought. thank you. T

    • Hi there Teresa, I think the number one thing a person can do is make the grid showing the size and shape of the room, using the one inch equals one foot method. On the grid, measure for and indicate the windows, French Doors in your case, the fire place, and any other opening. Measuring and making the paper templates to designate the furniture makes arranging your rooms furniture like doing a puzzle, or playing with a doll’s house. When arranging the different pieces, don’t be too serious about it. Play with combinations of things that would be logical, and even arrange things that would be outright fantasy. Sometimes letting yourself do things that would not be logical opens up options for some real imaginative things. The most important thing about arranging the paper templates is that you don’t get too nervous and think you should do it right the first time. Give yourself time to arrange the items, but first look at the other posts I wrote on the subject so you know how to arrange the pieces so sofas talk to chairs, and you make groupings to promote conversation. The premise of this blog is to get people thinking, not do the homework for them. I think you are one of the people who’s imagination I’ve stirred, so I know you are a creative person who wants to take on a challenge. Good luck with your project.

  2. Nancy Simpson says:

    Dear Fred,
    I just found your blog – what great room layouts, garden designs, etc. I am struggling with a house we just bought – a very narrow house built in 1883. I wonder if you might have an idea or two?! The living / dining room area is 12 feet wide and 25 feet long. Not sure I will need to put a dining room in this space, as we will extend the kitchen and add a breakfast area, but I have no idea how to furnish this space. At the south end of the room (12 ft wide) there is one window placed in the middle of the wall. At the north end there is a door into the kitchen. The west wall will be opened up and the stairs also opened to create an illusion of more space. So, the west wall will be completely opened up. On the east wall there is currently a gas fireplace, but it is in a spot closer to the south end. I was thinking about getting rid of it so that I have one long wall. But, what to do with furniture placement. I am stuck and the room is sooooo narrow!! Can you help?

    • Hi there Nancy, With a room 12 feet wide and 25 feet long with the window, fireplace, entrance to the kitchen and opened wall, I think you should mostly have comfortable chairs grouped together for conversation or to watch TV as I’ve shown in illustration 4B in my post Arranging Living Room furniture so Sofas talk to chairs. I also think you should look into armless modular pieces (being armless they would not take up soo much space) and you could put three sections together to make a sofa. Don’t buy a love seat as it only really seats one person (click here to read a post I wrote on that topic). Do make the grid as I did in this post, and play with the paper pieces to represent furniture, you might will be suprised at what you come up with. Good luck with your project and Happy New Year to you.

  3. Pretty! This has been an incredibly wonderful post. Many thanks for providing these

  4. Sheila says:

    I am thrilled to have found your well tended to blog that provides a ton of useful information. Kudos and thank you to you, Fred!

  5. whoah this blog is great i love studying your articles.
    Stay up the great work! You know, many people are hunting around for this
    info, you could help them greatly.

  6. Leslee says:

    There’s certainly a lot to learn about this issue.

    I like all of the points you have made.

  7. Teri says:

    You are amazing!!!! You have no idea how helpful you have been to me and this is my FIRST time here… I have been here an hour and I am already HOOKED!!!! Thanks so much!!!!

    I am a renter, who is transitioning from those cramp dorm room days and small apartments to something that is more sophisticated! I love my new place and I will be attending law school next year but I am so lost. Do you provide design tips for renters who live in smaller spaces but still want a beautiful design that is unique and feels like a home vs a college dorm (I am so over those days, yuck!!!! lol)?

    • Hi there Teri, I’m very busy with projects right now, but when I get past them, I will write a post about decorating tips for the small apartment. I love that topic, and I know I will come up with a number of things that might interest you. So stay tuned ;-}

  8. Marcile says:

    I have a question rather than a comment. We are moving into a new home. My husband and I enjoy spending time together while relaxing after work using out lap tops. Any classy ways to have a designated classy recharge, and use area of the living room? My concern is the laptops look messy sitting on the end tables next to the sofa.

    • Hi Marcile, that is an interesting question. Could you get laptop covers in a fabric that would compliment the fabrics in you living room, or could you have some kind of monogrammed leather cover made for them, so they look more stylish. If you had/could get covers for them (in leather or fabric) in the color of the wood of your end tables, they would sort of blend into the room, versus stick out. My computer is a table model, and I have it in my computer/art room, so I never had to thing about how it looked in my more formal spaces. Happy 2015 to you, and I hope you find a solution to your decorating problem.

  9. Hi Fred! I am just soaking up all of the furniture arrangements in several of your posts.
    I don’t see images 9 through 11 in this post, and I’m particularly curious about since I have two entry ways into my living room. Will you share where I can find those images?

  10. Hello, I just found your blog while searching Pinterest! I love your ideas, and am gleaning a lot from your blog. I wonder if you can give me a few suggestions for my new living room. The dimensions are 17X20, there are 4 points of entry, a lookthrough to the kitchen with a bar height countertop, 3 windows and a fireplace. I can send you a copy of the floor plan. This is our first home and I am overwhelmed by the prospect of attempting to furnish it. I don’t know where to start and I fear buying pieces that are not going to work.

    • Hi there Finding Summer. First of all I love your floor plan, but if you can make one small change to it, can you add an extra door/opening from the hall into the Media room. To me, any room with just one entrance is a “dead room”, as you have to go into it for a purpose, or not at all. With an extra door/entrance added you will have more flow when having parties or are just walking around your home. Circulation is everything in a house.

      As for your living room, here are my thoughts.
      (1) Float a sofa out from the wall directly opposite the fireplace. If you have space behind the sofa place a sofa table there and have two lamps on it. Those two lamps will give light to that side of the room. Have the sofa or sofa and sofa table out from the wall so you have complete access to the door on the right side of the room. You are creating a traffic pattern here with your sofa or sofa and sofa table combination. (1b)Buy a round end table and have it next to the sofa (on the side closest to the kitchen), if you buy the sofa table or not. The round table will look less bulky because it does not have square edges.
      (2) Buy two wonderful chairs that are possibly high backed and have them flank the fireplace and direct them toward the sofa. Behind them, on both sides of the fireplace tuck a matched set of floor lamps in the corners to illuminate that side of the room.
      (3) Place a comfortable chair next to the sofa on the left side closest to your kitchen to form a sofa and chair “L” shaped grouping.
      (4) Buy a medium, but not large coffee table and center it in front of the sofa, directly opposite the opening of the fireplace.
      (5) By the windows have one or two upholstered benches for extra seating when necessary. They will not block the view from the window and they can be picked up easily and mover anywhere in the room to from conversation groupings.
      (6) Anchor the whole space with an area rug. It can be placed on top of hardwood flooring, tile, stone or even wall-to-wall carpeting. Open concept floor plans need to have some kind of area definition.
      (7) Buy art works that are vertical format (taller than wide) they will suggest height in your room
      (8) Hang you drapes high to also suggest height in the room.

      Good luck with your project, and make sure you look at the list of topics on decorating or under decorating Principals that are on the right side of this web site. Happy 2015 and MANY Happy years in your new home!

  11. Californiafish says:

    Found this on Pinterest as I’m trying to figure out how to arrange the living room in our new house. Our living room floor plan is verrry similar to finding summer’s except the entry on the right side is a slider in the center of the wall. Thoughts so we don’t block traffic to the outdoors? Thank you!

  12. Oh my goodness I need help as I am completely incapable of decorating or even arranging furniture! We have a small-ish living room. (Open concept with kitchen) I’ll attach my floor plan . I have to buy new couches or recliners or whatever and I feel the furniture will block the passage to kitchen/dining, plus a large area of dead space between the entry and living room?! Also the biggest chore is deciding where to put the hubbies beloved TV and keeping it within view with comfortable seating. I hate the TV’s have become the focal points of living rooms now.

    • Hi there Rustic Farm Girl, sorry to have taken soo long to get to your inquiry. First of all I would put the “hubbies” beloved TV on the long wall that is opposite to the kitchen and is part of the master bedroom, kind of in the area of the walk in closet. I would flank the TV with two comfortable chairs (possibly even swivel styled). Across from the two chairs and TV, floating out in the room, about 3 feet from the kitchen area, I would have a “L” shaped sectional sofa. The sectional would be 4 units and the 5th piece, forming the “L” would be by the windows in the back of the room. A coffee table would be placed in front of the sectional and the sectional would be placed on an area rug that would be floating, and defining that area. When picking out furniture for your room, being that it is not all that large, don’t buy overstuffed pieces, and before buying anything, get the furniture you like measurements and go home, and with newspapers and tape, make measured templates showing the width and depth of all the furniture you are thinking of buying. Place those templates on the floor in the room, and in two seconds you will see how they fit in your space. If your furniture choices are too big, keep looking until you find somethings that work with your rooms size. Again, sorry for taking soo long :-}

  13. baruvaprarthana says:

    Hello! I just found this page while going through pinterest, and this has opened my mind to an amazing idea for my drawing room, which I had been struggling with. Now I know just where to put the furnitures and the coffee tables.
    Also I was wondering if you could kindly help me or recommend idea for my leisure room. It is a square small room. with the television already placed and fixed adjacent to the entrance, the windows are of glass. I was wondering how could I place the furnitures in the room. I’ve got two medium sofas and three chairs and two medium tables.
    it’s been a joy today after deciding my drawing room placements.
    thank you!

  14. Faith says:

    My husband and I have downsized and moved x3 No kids we are almost retired.

    We have one couch an ottoman, two side tables, 2 table lamps a 5×7 rug and a recliner chair with a side table left now and would like to know how to arrange these pieces for the most comfort and still look good.
    We are saving up for a Reno so we don’t want to buy any new furniture at this point until we get the bones finished and then decorate.
    We have a reclagular living dinning room with the tv on the long wall that we enjoy when we are home. There is a sliding glass door on the shorter side with two windows and opposite is the dinning room and kitchen
    Our focal point is the tv after work and it’s mostly used for movies. I work 12 hrs shifts on my feet so when I do get an evening off I want to put my feet up and be comfortable and I do not ever want to watch my tv sideways.
    On occasion we entertain.
    My husband loves to sit in the recliner but it doesn’t fit with the couch and he finds the couch uncomfortable at this time we just move it over to the other side and back.
    Ideal would be another chair and move the tv back over to the opposite wall but wiring on the outside wall was a problem for the in wall speakers etc.
    The size of the room is 13×15.5 and the dinning room attached is 13.5×9
    Couch is 94 wide.
    How can I arrange this furniture to be inviting and comfortable for us? Help???

  15. Pingback: How To Arrange A Couch And Two Chairs | Find Goods

  16. meri says:

    Hello there! Great idea love reading all your wonderful ideas! I need help badly please! I have living room kitchen combo. I also have doggie door in-between these rooms. My house i share with my 7 dogs. I have 2 dogs crates and in my rooms that sit behind one of my couches. Any ideas how i can arrange my rooms with these dog crates so it looks nice? I dont have a huge space but i still would like these rooms to have some style. I have 2 couches and one recliner a plant and 2 end tables. My TV is above the fireplace, which has 2 windows on each side of fireplace. HOpe you can help! Thanks!


    • Hi there Meri, I would say try to get dog bedding that is the same color as your furniture, or a close color match to what you have, so the elements in the room all go together. If the doggy bedding and crates matches what is in the room, it will not be soo noticeable. Another option would be to have colorful doggy bedding, and to have pillows on the sofas. and a throw on the chair, and even accessories in the room in the happy color of the doggy bedding. In either scenario it will all be tied together for color. The main thing in either design option is to give the impression that your doggy furniture is thought out, not just put in the room. Good luck with your project.

  17. Sally Sparrow says:

    Very nice and detailed explanation. Me and my husband will move to our new home next week. Our living room is square shape. So I’m pretty confused about decorating. Your suggestions will be very useful 🙂

    Our new living room looks like the first and third photos ( )

    I would like to hear if you suggest. Thanks 🙂

  18. Tim Murphy says:

    More rectangular rooms

  19. Richard Cullen says:

    This would be a great article but the majority of rooms are not created with such convenient spaces. This also only takes into account the top down plan view which doesn’t in any way take into account any patio door style windows. I myself am struggling in a small living room where almost the entirety of the top wall is patio door windows, then on the bottom wall a door that is approx 75cm into the living room.

    So far I’m struggling to have even the most basic layouts when you also take into account most living rooms in the uk also house the TV. When you add this in it makes viewing angles more complex.

  20. Nancy Cohen says:

    I’ve so enjoyed your wonderful ideas! Thank you, but…
    How would you do a 12 x 12 living room with the same two entryways as examples #9, #10 and #11? The fireplace is caticornerd on a diagonal wall between both entryways. This is the front parlor of an 1880’s Queen Anne Victorian which I’ve opened up but kept all the beautiful details. However, I’m stymied by this challenge!!! Any ideas you might have would be so greatly appreciated!!!!!

    Happy Holidays and All the Very Best,

  21. Pingback: 10 Unique Ideas sofa Chair Drawing - Native Art Cedar House

  22. Sumit says:

    Hi Fred
    Thanks for this informative post. Even though it is really comprehensive, our layout is perhaps unique. We have a 15’5″ x 14’7″ living room; one side is open (entrance) and the other side is a 12 feet 4-panel patio door – these are on the side that is 14’7″. Then on one wall of the 15’5″ long direction is a fireplace. I can’t post a picture here, but I did post one on houzz:

    Would love any suggestions on how to layout our furniture.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s